The Detective Next Door
W.C. Gordon, author
An accidental murder, a dismembered corpse, and a web of lies haunts this gripping debut from Gordon. The protagonist is a regular cop who likes to do his duty with as much diligence as possible and be left alone otherwise. What when a break-in turns deadly, the fact that he, a white cop, killed a man of color forces him to cover up the murder. As the police investigation closes in, he finds himself scrambling to come up with an escape plan. With his experience as a law enforcement officer, Gordon gives a fresh twist to the usual genre tropes: the nitty gritty of the inner workings of law enforcement, the investigative details, and red herrings. Despite its grim theme, the story makes for a breezy read. The fast-paced narrative, the sly, dark humor, and the increasingly complex life of the protagonist make this a must-read for lovers of psychological thrillers.
Gordon’s superior debut opens quietly as his unnamed narrator, a South Florida police detective, handles the quotidian aspects of police work. These include dealing with a woman unwilling to accept that her niece’s negative Facebook posts aren’t a crime to be investigated, and colleagues who view required work hours merely as suggestions. His main joy is his wife, Nic. Then, late one night, he confronts a thief in the act of trying to steal his car, in which he carelessly left his service weapon. The encounter turns deadly, forcing the cop into a desperate attempt to cover up his justified use of force, a choice that only gets him into deeper trouble, even after his neighbor, a virtual stranger, offers to help conceal the corpse. Gordon, a law enforcement officer and military veteran, comes up with plausible and intriguing plot twists, and is especially good at portraying his lead’s PTSD. The pace picks up dramatically after the killing, making the ending chapters suspenseful page-turners. Gordon is off to an impressive start. (Self-published)